I was sitting in a large room full of other ASU students and faculty, watching the election results on the huge screen in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism First Amendment Forum. As others around me cheered every time Barack won a state, I clenched the armrests of my chair in anticipation. Thoughts ran through my head; this is a historic day. As the words ran across the screen "CNN Projection: Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States," tears ran down my face.
Why was I crying? I think that I was able to recognize the enormity of this day. I ask my parents where they were when JFK was assassinated, whereas I think that my children will ask me where I was when Barack Obama was elected president.
No matter your political affiliation, it is undeniable that this day will go into the history books as one of the most triumphant for people of color in the United States. They say that we have finally reached the threshold of equality; I will argue that this is untrue. Many civilians still believe that Barack Obama is a terrorist. It is evident that we still have a long way to go to demolish racism in this economy.
In the words of Colin Powell, "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no." Or should be no, at least.
I kind of wish that Obama was a Muslim, or at least a Jew. Maybe then would I believe that we have reached true equality. There is still a lot of prejudice in this country; evident by the vote on Proposition 102 in Arizona, Proposition 8 in California, and others like them in various parts of the country. These propositions more or less denied the rights of homosexuals in this country.
Now, I was raised a conservative Christian. Granted, my views have changed with my experience, but I nonetheless understand wholeheartedly the belief that this group of Americans have to preserve marriage.
(Note: My blog is called Deja Moo - Urban Dictionary Definition: "I've heard this bull before" - You probably know where I am going with this argument)
Marriage IS an institute of religion. People are ultimately married by the institution they choose. This is why Jews, Christians, Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, and all other religions have different traditions for being married. These traditions should not be determined by the state. Both the McCain and Obama campaigns denied standing for same-sex marriage, but both stood for the rights of same-sex couples. I will argue that this is a catch-22. Who cares if they want to call it marriage or not? The Christian church, which is ultimately the institution that has raised the most opposition to this issue, does not have to endorse it. Once again, you have probably heard this argument many times, and I will not try to change your opinion.
I will try to persuade you that we are not yet a nation free from prejudice. As long as we are ruled by our conservatism, we will never be. I cried when Obama was elected because for the first time in a long while, I was truly proud of the American people. I believe that we have more or less overcome the struggle for civil rights. Now, we are in an unspeakable struggle of religion and morals as others who do not fit the status quo fight for their rights. Isn't it their turn?
Can we ever learn to separate church and state? The question is up to you, America.